Tag: job

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Summer

Many of you are jonesing for Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cozy sweaters on crisp fall days right now. You are just done with this season and ready to move on. I get it. It seems like many of my friends have been living “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Summer this year.

One friend is grieving the sudden death of her husband. Another reeling from a deeply painful betrayal, and another whose 18 month old has leukemia is living with chemo and isolation. Still others are dealing with “prodigal” children, dysfunctional communication in their families, and postpartum anxiety.

This pain leaves my friends wondering “Why, Lord, why? and WHEN will this END???”

In contrast, I have had a delightful summer, making me loathe to share my joy, for fear of intensifying their pain. I know. I’ve been Alexander in the past – the one in deeply wounded confusion.

I really want to be a good friend.

It’s timely, then, that I’ve been reading “The God of All Comfort” and doing a study of Job.

When our friends are hurting, our first inclination is to want to figure out and fix, right? After all, we hate seeing our friends suffer! The thing is, only God can fix it, redeem it, and in His time He will.

Often when we speak, we inadvertently add to the pain of the sufferer.

Without thinking, we say the normal, “How are you doing?” and the one in pain wants to scream, “HOW AM I DOING??? I WANT TO DIE, THAT’S HOW I’M DOING!!!”

A better option might be to give a hug and say “It’s so good to see you.” or “What is on your plate today?”

My friend whose child has leukemia wrote: “Someone told me today that the vaccines I chose to have my son receive caused his leukemia.”

WHAAAT???? Why would someone say that?  As we talked about it, we agreed that when we draw close to people in pain, in addition to wanting to FIX, we also become aware of our own vulnerability. Our reaction may be to withdraw or come up with “reasons” that make us feel more protected.

But I believe God’s charge to us (though I do it poorly) is to sit with our friends in pain, not judge (as Job’s friends did), and listen more than we speak.

Glennon Doyle says friendship is two people acknowledging together that they are not God. Good word, that.

Joe Bayly lost three children years ago and wrote this after the death of one son:

“I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God’s dealing, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly. I wished he’d go away, and he finally did.

Another came and sat beside me. He didn’t talk. He didn’t ask leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour – or more. He listened when I said something. He listened. He answered briefly. He prayed briefly, and then he went away. I hated to see him go.”

If you are hurting today, maybe all you need to hear is that you’re not alone. You are precious and beloved no matter what.


3 Sure-fire Ways to Get the Job

My wonderful, wise husband graciously agreed to write another guest post, so today is a bit of a departure from Fearless Friday.  The purpose of this blog is to help us pay attention to the relationships, experiences and practices God uses to form us.  Certainly, hunting for a job can be one of those experiences.  So, here are some thoughts from John…

I’m  reading Proverbs these days, so my spiritual growth is more ‘out in the real world’ than usual.  For instance, I’m in the midst of interviewing/finding the right fit for 3 positions.  One thing that’s struck me is, “Boy, I wish I knew this back when I was trying to get a job”. As we talk and pray, drilling beneath the “right character, right skills, right chemistry” mantra that many of us use as a template, it’s so hard for people on either side of the interview table to “get it right”.  Since I’m sure many of you will be looking for different work in the near future (hopefully not sooner than you think!), here are some hard-earned lessons to navigate the seas of vocation.  Just three to start:

NOT THE RESUME, the Passion… we can pretty quickly discern skill-sets and experience, but these days I want to know ‘What makes your heart sing’?  Personal stories offer insight when they get beyond “I supervised 37,000 left-handed redheads.” I lean forward when I hear, “I found myself crying when the team broke up”, or a story of how you were used to touch one old person’s life, and THAT’S why you want this opportunity.  Don’t gush, but show some heart.

NOT THE SUCCESSES, the Learnings:  so tired of people who’s “weakness” is that they work too hard, or are never satisfied.  I want to hire someone who says, “I was embarrassed to find out that they ALL thought I talked too much; boy, did that change me”, or “I felt awful when we had to let this person go, because I never gave them a hint that they were hurting themselves.”  The lessons from our mistakes convey both self- awareness and humility, indispensable to a team.  Sure, you’ll talk about your strengths, but transparency shows you can grow!

NOT THE ANSWERS, the Questions: I want people who care enough about this job that they’ve done some homework, but I want to learn about them from their questions… so you better have some!  “What’s one key emotional attribute you look for on your team, assuming we can all do the job?”  “What’ve been the toughest things for people in this area/department/job to deal with recently?”  Recently, someone asked me, “You seem awfully level-headed; how will I know I’m in trouble if you’re not saying something directly?”  Our questions demonstrate the values we’ll bring through the door.

In a tough job market, it’ SO counterintuitive to say, but you’re far better off finding out what they REALLY want, rather than doing or saying anything to get the job.  We live in a world that cries out for both authenticity and impressiveness, so offer the best ‘you’ rather than a counterfeit.  The other day I hung up twice after a phone interview and said, “I don’t know if we can get this person, but THAT’S what I’m talking about!”  A 51-year old woman, and then a 32 year-old man, I’d be honored to work with either… because I feel I know their heart, and not just their resume.

Or as Proverbs 10:9 explains, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out”.

Two Questions to Consider Every Day

This week is the one year anniversary of the start of this little blog.

A year ago about this time I had nothing.

Ok, that’s “a lie from the pit of hell“, as daughter Maggie would say.  I “had” a lot of things.  A lovely home, and delightful family and friendships I treasured.  But it felt like I had nothing partly because I didn’t have an impressive job title.  Actually I didn’t have any job title.

I felt like an untethered space station floating in the inky cosmos.

We had just returned from a five month sabbatical and I was clueless about how the next season of my life would look.  What was my “place“?  Who was my “tribe“?  Was there anywhere God could use me to add value?

The answers seemed to be “nowhere”, “no-one”, and “nowhere” (again).

Maybe your circumstances are different, but you can relate.  You’re “in transition” (that horrible euphemism for “in a place that feels scary and directionless“). Or maybe you’re just feeling unsettled and under-utilized.

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